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6 Toronto police officers found guilty of discreditable conduct online – Toronto | Globalnews.ca

An internal review has found that six Toronto police officers engaged in discreditable conduct on social media, but that their words were not racist. However, exactly what has been done about it is still not public knowledge.

The officers faced two counts of discreditable conduct stemming from their comments and likes on a Facebook post on another officer’s page on July 31, 2018. The comments were brought to the attention of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director by another officer.

The original post was a link to a TV news story about allegations of racial profiling in the city’s Regent Park area. the allegations in the story were made by lawyer Selwyn Pieters.

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In replies under the main post, the officers in question made disparaging remarks against people involved in the story, including Pieters and activist Desmond Cole.

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The investigative report, obtained by Global News, showed multiple posts, including, “Same lawyer, same story” and “Selwyn would cry racism if I said I drink my coffee black,” in reference to Pieters.

The report also showed “Another racist idiot,” comparing Pieters to Cole.

“So now we are calling known gang members influencers,” was made in reference to the subject of the news story the officers were commenting on.

While the internal review did find the officers’ comments brought discredit to the force, substantiating the first charge, it did not find the second discreditable conduct charge, alleging racism, to be substantiated.

“Their conduct was discreditable,” said Pieters, but he calls the review’s analysis of the second charge “faulty.”

“Whether somebody wears blackface or makes a comment like that, or any other way that they try to make jokes or a caricature (of) a black person … it’s offensive and it falls within the Human Rights Code as discriminatory.”

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Most of the officers submitted written testimony to the review, in which they claimed they couldn’t recall much about posting their comments and didn’t realize the Facebook page was set to public and viewable by anyone.

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The Toronto Police Service would not comment on the matter except for a brief statement:

“Under s. 95 of the Police Services Act, the Toronto Police Service, like all Ontario police services, is prohibited from releasing details about investigations that arise from conduct complaints and the outcome of such investigations, unless the matter is heard at a disciplinary tribunal where the information is made public.”

That also means the public will not know what, if any, discipline the officers will face.

Pieters said that is unfortunate.

“Maybe they will face no disciplinary action,” he speculated. “Or maybe a slap on the wrist, who knows? Certainly the public needs to know.”

Cole declined to comment on the story, but Pieters said this is not over yet.

“I will consider the legal options that exist in this case,” he said.

“Part one of the legal options may be to file a civil action for defamation of character. I may well end up suing the police and the police service.”

Pieters said he plans to pursue more than just an apology.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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